windy night

they smile and bring the food
they smile and bow
as a light hurricane rattles the
blinds

as the scarlet ibis appears
and dances in the guano
on my plate

I’m not hungry anyhow

Leda, Tyndareus, Clytemnestra,
Castor, Pollux or anybody else
I know wouldn’t
eat this stuff.

I ask for a doggy bag.
they smile and scoop the meal
into there.

later in my kitchen I divide
the meal onto their plates
place them upon the floor

as my 3 cats remain motionless
staring up at me
as I ask them,   “what’s the matter?”
what’s the matter?   Eat it!”

the hurricane scratches
branches against the window
as I switch out the kitchen
light
walk out of there and into
the other room
switch on the tv
just as a cop shoots a
man at the top of a fire escape
and he falls and falls
toppling and flattening in the
street:

he will never have to eat
Szechwan shrimp with Chinese
peas
again.

Author
Charles Bukowski
Written
1981
Source
Original manuscript